6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem

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6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem

Harboring a poor body image can do more than just hinder your weight loss efforts. It can make you downright miserable. Your journey to becoming a healthier person will benefit greatly if it is preceded by self-love and self-respect.

Step 1

Start by recognizing that the only opinion that matters is your opinion. Self-respect originates from the self – not from others.

Step 2

Break the vicious cycle of dieting. In order to do this, you need to first recognize the cycle, which typically follows this pattern:

  • You have feelings of inadequacy and discontentment with your body.
  • You start a crash diet in an attempt to lose weight.
  • You are not able to maintain the unrealistic requirements of your crash diet.
  • You regain the weight that you lost (and oftentimes surpass your original body weight).
  • Your feelings of inadequacy and discontentment with your body are worse than when you started.

Sound familiar?

There is one simple secret to avoiding this trap: Do not crash diet. Crash diets are not sustainable and they do nothing to teach you healthy habits. Instead, try to convert your existing lifestyle into a healthy one. Luckily, you are already on the right path by using MyFoodDiary.com.

Step 3

Chronic dieters who have experienced repeated failure commonly bash themselves with negative self-talk. Re-wiring those negative self-talk tapes is the first step in learning self-love.

A good place to start is with positive affirmations, which are statements that affirm positive characteristics about you. This can provide a gateway to achieving self-love. We don't fully understand how positive affirmations work, but we know that they do.

Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day and repeat the saying out loud to yourself -- preferably while looking in the mirror. Affirmations should use words and phrases such as respect, cherish, care for, love, dignity, beautiful, treasure, worth it, whole, complete, esteem, confidence, health, acceptance, and responsibility. Create your own uplifting affirmations that have meaning for you. An example may read something like this:

"I am beautiful, complete, and whole. I respect and cherish my body and its amazing and miraculous functions. I love and care for myself at all times."

Repeat them throughout the day, especially when you recognize negative self-talk replaying in your mind. Affirmations gently remind you of your focus, and help you dismiss destructive thoughts.

Step 4

Start journaling your thoughts and feelings. This is another powerful tool for identifying negative self-talk, and challenging it. Each day, commit to writing something in the Personal Notes section of your account. You do not need to write about anything specific -- just write at least 3 paragraphs a day. Sooner or later, ideas and feelings will start to surface and you can confront them in writing. Always end your journal entry with a positive affirmation.

Step 5

Be patient and gentle with yourself. Take special time out on a daily basis, and allow yourself to decompress. Remind yourself that you are more than what is on the outside and that people come in different shapes and sizes. Refuse to succumb to the shallow criteria often put forth by society. Explore your interests and talents, and focus your energies on experiencing life through those channels. Instead of concentrating on how you look, direct your energy and thoughts to how you feel when you eat well and move your body. Always view your dietary intake and exercise as ways in which you are caring for and nurturing your body -- not as a way to simply lose weight.

Step 6

If you continue to struggle, consider finding a counselor or a therapist to help you work through some of these issues. Oftentimes, having an objective party to challenge your self-defeating beliefs can be helpful. Know that each of us has a purpose and a reason for being here, and rarely does it have anything to do with how we look.

Warm Rosemary Corn and Tomato Salad RecipeWarm Rosemary Corn and Tomato Salad

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Rosemary Corn and Tomato Salad Recipe

Herbs and spices are packed with disease fighting phytonutrients while giving seasonal vegetables a big boost in flavor. This salad uses rosemary, but basil and cilantro are other delicious options that go well with vegetable salads and side dishes.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.3g
0%Saturated Fat 0.1g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 148mg
Total Carbohydrate 17.1g
Dietary Fiber 2.9g
Sugars 13.2g
Protein 2.8g
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Baking time: 12 minutes


  • 3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the corn kernels, tomatoes, and onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, and then add the rosemary, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables in oil and herbs.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes, stirring halfway through. The corn will soften and brown slightly, and the tomatoes will begin to burst. Serve warm.

10 Herbs that Flavor Food and Improve Health10 Herbs that Flavor Food and Improve Health

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Herbs that Flavor Food and Improve Health

Herbs contain nutrients that improve health in unique ways. Some provide the anti-inflammatory benefits of aspirin while others have the power to fight unhealthy bacteria. Start adding these herbs to your recipes today!


When you take a dose of ibuprofen or aspirin, these medicines block an enzyme to reduce inflammation. Research shows that the oils in basil have the ability to block these same enzymes. In addition to the fresh, crisp flavor it adds to food, basil provides vitamin K, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

Uses: Top pizza with fresh basil leaves just before baking, add them to sandwiches, or thinly slice the leaves and sprinkle them over fresh tomato slices with salt and pepper.


Cilantro is a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, and its bright green leaves and seeds are anti-bacterial. Research suggests that cilantro contains a compound that kills salmonella, a major cause of foodborne illness.

Uses: Add fresh cilantro leaves to salsa, tacos, dips, salads, and noodles.


With its pungent flavor, it is no surprise that chives come from the same group of allium vegetables and herbs as onions and garlic. They contain compounds that act as antioxidants to reduce the risk for cancer.

Uses: Add chopped chives to scrambled egg whites, pasta salads, potato salads, or to Greek yogurt for vegetable dip.


Dill has anti-bacterial properties similar to those associated with garlic. It can also help protect against free radicals and the carcinogens found in grill smoke. This makes dill an ideal herb to use with any food you plan to grill.

Uses: Sprinkle chopped dill over fish, beef, or sautéed vegetables. It can be used in omelets, or stirred into cucumber salad and tuna salad.


Mint is best known for its ability to sooth the digestive system making it helpful for gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome. It also provides manganese, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Uses: Add chopped mint to fruit salad, or drop a few leaves into your favorite berry smoothies. It also makes a good seasoning for beef and lamb.


Research shows that oregano has the highest antioxidant content of herbs, and it also surpasses many fruits and vegetables. One analysis showed it contains 4 times the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries.

Uses: Add oregano to homemade marinara sauce or tomato soup. Sprinkle minced leaves over pizza, and simmer bundles of oregano stems in soups and stews.


Often a garnish, nutritious parsley should be added to your food, not your plate. Parsley provides vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid. Similar to dill, parsley’s antioxidant activity may fight against carcinogens, such as those in grill smoke.

Uses: Stir chopped parsley into pasta salads, cold bean salads, or tuna salad. Mix it into ground beef before making hamburgers, or sprinkle it on top of soups and stews before serving.


Not far behind oregano, rosemary is also part of a group of herbs with the highest amount of antioxidant activity. Several studies show that it can fight the pathogens that cause foodborne illness, such as Listeria.

Uses: Add chopped rosemary leaves to marinades for grilled meats and vegetables, or sprinkle some on vegetables before roasting. Simmer stems of rosemary leaves in soups and stews.


The oils in sage have been found to reduce inflammation, which is common in those with rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. It is also rich in vitamin K, an important vitamin for bone health.

Uses: Add finely chopped sage to chicken salad, or to tomato sauce. Add a few sage leaves to fish and vegetable packets before grilling.


Along with being rich in antioxidants that protect cell membranes, thyme is also anti-microbial. Its oils protect against microbes on fresh foods, such as lettuce, that could cause illness. Thyme is also rich in iron, manganese, and vitamin K.

Uses: Add thyme leaves to salad dressings, or marinades. It is also delicious in pasta sauces, roasted vegetables, and beans.

Recognizing Hunger Signals Recognizing Hunger Signals

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Recognizing Hunger Signals

Chronic dieting can result in a numbing of hunger signals and an inability to recognize fullness. If you don't respond to hunger knocking on that internal door, eventually it will stop knocking. Eating then occurs in response to stimuli other than true hunger, and that's when the troubles begin – oftentimes resulting in emotional eating and rebound binges.

With a little attention to the task, you can re-train yourself to recognize and respond appropriately to hunger and fullness signals. Hunger should be embraced and treated as a valued communication with your body – not something to be feared. Listening to your body and taking the time to care for its needs are critical steps in learning to love and care for yourself.

The first step in recognizing hunger signals and eating intuitively is to be present in the moment. This is difficult to do in our current society where we are constantly looking to the next task even before finishing the prior one. Taking the time to slow down will provide you with a multitude of health benefits. Realize that it is normal for hunger to occur 3 to 5 hours after eating. Start familiarizing yourself with the different levels of hunger and the individual signals that your body relays to you at various stages.

Initiate this process by listening. Check in with your body throughout the day and rate your hunger. A common way to rate hunger is on a scale of 1-to-10 with 1 equivalent to a state of starving and 10 being a state of extreme fullness.

Ideally, you want to initiate a meal when you are in a state of hunger but not completely famished (a scale rating of about 3), and finish a meal when you are in a state of fullness but not completely stuffed (a scale rating of approximately 6).

  • 0 = Starving, famished, headache
  • 3 = Need to eat something, hunger pangs
  • 5 = Comfortable, lightness about you
  • 6 = Somewhat full, satisfied and content
  • 8 = Overfull, need to loosen clothing, must sit for awhile
  • 10 = Nauseated, vow to never eat this much again

It takes a while for the signal of stomach fullness to reach the satiety centers in the brain so it is a good idea to stop eating before you feel full. In other words, if you stop eating at a rating of about 6, you will ultimately end up at a fullness rating of about 7 shortly following the meal.

It may be helpful, to associate numbers on the rating scale with situations in the past. For instance, if you have ever fasted for a religious occasion, try to remember how it felt to be truly hungry and correlate that empty, rumbling feeling in your stomach with a rating of 1.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, recall a time when you've really overeaten, maybe a Thanksgiving dinner, and correlate a number 10 with the feelings of overeating. Likewise, remember a time when you thoroughly enjoyed a fantastic meal and were able to stop eating when you had met your hunger needs. Remember how comfortable and satisfied you felt and mesh this memory with a number 6 on the scale.

Although individual differences exist, the list below can provide some common hunger symptoms:

  • Feeling of emptiness in stomach
  • Gurgling, rumbling or growling in stomach
  • Dizziness, faintness or light-headedness
  • Headache
  • Irritability, easily agitated
  • Lack of concentration
  • Nausea

After a while you will be able to identify patterns in your hunger symptoms and correlate them with how often and how much you've eaten at your last meal. It may take some time for you to get comfortable with identifying normal levels of hunger and to recognize the pattern of eating that is best suited to you individually. Be patient with yourself and your body. Take the time to listen and care for yourself, and to get back in tune with your body and hunger.

Homemade Baba Ganoush RecipeHomemade Baba Ganoush

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Baba Ganoush Recipe

Baba ganoush is an eggplant dip or spread popular in Turkish, Lebanese, and Indian cuisines. It is easy to make at home, and results in a delicious vegetable-based snack with heart-healthy fats from olive oil, seeds, or nuts. While it is often served with pita or flatbread, you can lighten up your snack by serving it with fresh vegetables, such as cucumber slices, celery sticks, and cherry tomatoes.

Tips for the cook: Baba ganoush is traditionally made with tahini (sesame seed paste). If you don’t have tahini on hand, any type of unsweetened nut butter makes a flavorful substitute. This recipe uses natural peanut butter, but almond butter is also a great choice.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 tbsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g
2%Saturated Fat 0.3g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 45mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
Dietary Fiber 2.1g
Sugars 1.5g
Protein 1.1g
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: About 2 cups, 16 servings

Baking time: 1 hour

Preparation time: 10 minutes


  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp natural, unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • Parsley and olive oil for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pierce the whole eggplants in several places with a fork. Rub the ½ teaspoon of olive oil over the eggplant. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is soft and the skin begins to shrivel. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  2. Split the eggplants with a knife and use a spoon to scoop out the soft flesh. Place it in the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic, peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Puree until smooth, about 20 seconds.
  3. Add the chili powder, red pepper, and salt. Pulse until mixed in. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving. Serve room temperature or slightly cold.
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